Key business associations in the country have called on government and Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to institute appropriate sanctions to recalcitrant shipping lines who have flouted the Minister of Transport’s directive not to charge Terminal Handling charges (THC).
According to them, the authorities must not rule out any entries into the ports of Ghana of these shipping lines if necessary and that they expect all shipping lines in Ghana to respect and subject themselves to the laws of Ghana, including the rules and regulations of Ghana’s maritime industry
“We therefore call on government and the Ghana Ports and Harbor Authority to begin to consider appropriate sanctions against these recalcitrant shipping lines who will not dare put up such behavior in their home countries,” they argued.
The group, which represents a critical mass of shippers and businesses in the country at a press conference said the conduct of shipping lines who continue to charge THC defeats government’s effort towards reducing the cost of doing business in the country’s ports through the trade facilitation measures and infrastructure investments.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries, Seth Twum–Akwaboah said any importer who has made any THC payment after the September 2 directive came to effect should put in a claim to the shipping line for refund.
“Any importer who has made a THC payment after September 2nd, 2016 when the directive came into effect should put in a claim to the shipping line or agent for refund. It is very worrying how some shipping lines operating in Ghana who were part of the initial meeting chaired by the honorable Minister of Transport could blatantly disregard the authority and flout this clear directive that the THC be suspended immediately,” he stated.
According to him, available maritime statistics indicate that the THC will cost the already burdened shippers in Ghana over 78million dollars per year if it is allowed to continue.
He said the THC is already embodies in the ocean freight that shippers pay to shipping lines, hence the THC as a local charge amounts to a supplicated fee which is unfair and illegitimate.
“Again if you look at your contract that is your bill of laden, if it is a container most of the time, you will realize CYCY that is container yard to container yard and if it is container yard to container yard it means your freight has been paid from a certain container yard up to another container yard, so why do you get to the port and ask me to pay you before you drop my boxes. This is the bone of contention
They said they will not hesitate to take necessary actions against recalcitrant shipping lines who continue to charge the THC with impunity.